TikTok was the fastest social media network to reach 1 billion monthly active users. So, it’s only natural that marketers are still figuring out if and how to utilise the platform to build an audience. 

While many marketers are keen to tap into the latest TikTok trends and subcultures to build their brand, they know that such a move will carry risk as they need to test and learn to figure out a creative, fun, and authentic approach to participating in the platform. 

Marketers are also maxing out their performance marketing spend and experiencing diminishing returns on online advertising. Therefore, there is a strong need to explore high performing channels with engaged audiences. 

TikTok enables incremental storytelling, in which millions of users can add their own spin to a trending video, giving brands a new and powerful way to reach their audiences. Its algorithm gathers deep interest based insights, very quickly, and there is a wealth of data that marketers can tap into in TikTok’s advertising platform. 

Customer data is a competitive advantage on TikTok

TikTok is all about great content. A captivating video that maximises watch time helps marketing budgets go further. However, using existing customer data can also help marketers find and build their TikTok community quickly and efficiently. 

When marketers can take the first-party data they have worked so hard to gather on other channels into the TikTok realm, they can create custom and lookalike audiences to build their presence.

The key to reaching and retaining audiences

The TikTok algorithm does keep users in their own personal interest-based bubble, so in order to break through and find new high-value customers, it’s important for marketers to use their hard earned first-party data. First-party data enables marketers to reach customers and prospects on a new channel where they are highly active. If customers are no longer engaging on other channels, such as email, it’s possible to use TikTok’s custom audiences to re-engage them in a new domain. 

Leveraging customer data on TikTok helps generate better returns

The TikTok Ads Manager “Customer File” option allows marketers to upload their own list of customers for targeting. While manually uploading is an option, using automation through a marketing focused Customer Data and Experience Platform (CDXP) makes it easier to sync specific customer segments with TikTok via a plug and play native integration. A TikTok integrated CDXP allows marketers to connect with a click, enabling communications with audiences in minutes, while ensuring campaigns always use the most up to date customer data.

Using data to tell captivating stories

Analysing the behaviours and preferences of high value customer segments can empower marketers to create highly relevant, niche, interest-based content that’s likely to appeal to its TikTok community. While TikTok recently expanded its maximum video length to 10 minutes, advertisers are most successful if they hook their audience within the first three seconds. A message or idea must resonate quickly. Is it any surprise that one of the most popular tutorial video this past year was titled ‘How to make a brownie in 45 seconds’?

That’s why marketers should use their first-party data to find the hero products or collections that high value customers purchase first and gain a better understanding of what campaigns have driven their purchases on other channels. They can then recreate this messaging around these products in prospecting ads designed to boost awareness and drive sales on TikTok. Furthermore by creating targeted campaigns for exact audiences, marketers can tell more personalized stories, increase brand loyalty with their customers, and generate higher conversions. 

Creative magic, amplified

Marketers with a knack for creativity and authenticity are excelling on TikTok. Brands such as Netflix and adidas have already built audiences in the millions by sharing playful videos that extend upon their existing brand story in an uplifting way. First party data can also feed into this creativity, giving brands more insights and avenues to amplify their message on the fastest growing social media platform in the world.

Aparna Gray is vice president of marketing at Lexer.